The Debrief, After The Beatdown

  • I paused, and took a deep breath last night. @VailHawk has kindly prompted me. A few thoughts here -

    1. Point Guard Play: Mason was horrific. I am completely disappointed in his approach. This was even worse than the Florida game last season.

    2. Drive and Dish: This is a big one. I said the following before the UK game - “They have to drive the basketball. Must drive it. But they have to dish off the drive and create easy baskets. For my money, this is a key to any game. But against UK’s bigger guards, slashing will be a priority. And against UK’s size inside, we need to find a way to score easily. We need to avoid the TT specials … and some of what we’ve seen from Mason. Have a plan, and the plan isn’t necessarily to score as the first option. Selden and Svi getting to the rack, and looking to create should come in large doses would be a nice add. Both can do it. I seriously doubt that “feed the post” will win the day Tuesday.”

    3. Game Plan I: Self said this after the game: “Our whole deal early on was drive to pass. And we didn’t; we drove to shoot.” Mason destroyed our chances last night. His poor play, his ill advised driving and shooting, led directly to the annihilation we saw. It was the approach – driving to shoot, not driving to pass. But that raises a big question in my mind, what is the penalty for not following the game plan? I think this is as simple as correcting a child. Punishment. You don’t do it my way, you don’t play. I’m a Mason fan, but last night, he lost me. That performance was ridiculously bad. It was everything a point guard shouldn’t be. He did handle the ball well. But he had zero assists. This can’t be permitted to continue. It is as simple as that. It’s Self’s job to fix it.

    4. Game Plan II: Hold onto your hat here. Self said after the game that “We were just so uncharacteristic. We never through it inside. Never.” Ok, perhaps I’m the one that is delusional. But didn’t we get the ball inside a number of times? We saw Ellis and Traylor play to their limited levels of play against taller players. They can’t score against bigger guys. Am I missing something? Does Self really think that getting the ball inside would have done anything? We couldn’t get a shot off. Now, what he didn’t say was to get the ball in, to kick it out for the three … then I would be buying it.

    5. Game Plan III: The quote in paragraph 2 above regarding driving to pass – it was preceded by this comment by Self when asked about his “game plan”: “This game plan crap that everybody talks about; this isn’t football. We play to our strengths, and you don’t change offenses because the other team is tall. Our whole deal early on was drive to pass. And we didn’t; we drove to shoot.” Note to Self – That is a game plan. Planning to drive early to pass, that’s an element of a game plan. And no, no one is suggesting “changing offenses” as being a game plan. But adjustments are a game plan. That comment was just nonsensical. The premise is nonsensical. What is it that you do to prepare for a game? You game plan. One of the things we mentioned that was necessary was trapping on the block and short corner. Self did that last night. That’s part of a game plan.

    6. Three Point Shooting: It was quite clear that we did not “game plan” to get open looks from three. There were a just a couple of times where we look like we were even trying to get that shot, one was when Greene got the bogus foul call before Svi hit the three that didn’t count. But as was plain for the world to see, we don’t value three point shots. Message to the college basketball world … ssshhhh … it’s a secret … you’re going to have to hit a lot of threes to be UK. And more than the 8 I suggested we needed before the game.

    7. Ellis: I am worried. Our junior post player played all of 21 minutes, 4 points, 1-6 shooting. Nothing. This was a concern heading in. We haven’t seen him function well against taller, bigger guys. Actually, we haven’t seen him function at all in those situations. He’s not more aggressive, and he’s still very poor on defense.

    8. Traylor: I am not worried. He played exactly to his expectations and skill level. This is all he can do. Non-top 100 recruit. Should only be a back up on any Kansas team. Not … repeat … Not … 26 minutes. But Self had little choice, with Ellis’ non-performance. Self is stuck.

    9. Willie Cauley-Stein: Cauley-Stein’s mom said she didn’t understand why Self didn’t recruit him harder. Self said, well, if we got Cauly-Stein we would not have gotten Embiid. Interesting. Because we have neither one right now.

    10. Greene: Did anyone realize that Greene played fewer minutes than Evan Manning? Greene played 5 minutes. Self sure has confidence in the young man. Transfer watch begins … now…

    11. Oubre Starting: My first reaction was that it was a ridiculous. Self plainly was pandering to his potential OAD talent, on a big stage. Then I saw the intro where Oubre was featured … my guess is that feature was made a while back. The OAD hype for ESPN prime time game. Playing to the Zimmermans and Browns of the world. Self, for whatever reason, felt compelled to start Oubre. The same guy that played 4 minutes vs. UCSB and none of those in the second half. The same guy that when he got his second fould early, Self didn’t take him out for a while – when has Self ever done that with a guy he actually felt was necessary to win a game? The discussion was had regarding pressure to play Oubre due to his recruiting status. This has OAD stench all over it. That said, Oubre did look good for stretches. If he’s the starter, by golly, then start him Monday. And all next week. That’s how he’ll get better.

    12. Not The End Of The World: Ok, let’s assume we can’t beat Kentucky. Someone else will have to beat them if we are to win the national title. That’s certainly possible. They are obviously beatable, and I wouldn’t bet against us later in the year. But last night is over. We just have to get better. Pretty basic. That’s all we can do now. Lots of season to play. No choice. This was ugly and embarrassing. But it’s history now.

    And we have to wait all the way until next Monday for a game. But it’s good to be a Jayhawk. Don’t forget that. We wouldn’t trade places with anyone, anywhere. It’s easy to be negative after a loss like this, all looks lost. But it’s not. We know it’s not.

  • @HighEliteMajor Good points, HEM. The points I am the most concerned about are #6 and #10. Self says we are going to shoot a lot of 3’s this year and we are all skeptical. Now I am very skeptical. If there is any team in the country that KU should bomb 3’s on it is Kentucky. We obviously can’t beat them down low so why not at least try to beat them from deep? I about lost my voice yelling for us to take 3’s but we repeatedly drove the ball into the lane where 3 guys who are 6’11 are waiting to swat our shit. I did not understand it then and I won’t understand the entire season if we don’t shoot more 3’s.

    3’s. Something Greene is good at shooting. Why is he not in the game? Why is he not in the game for like 15-20 minutes? Again, I am baffled.

  • @HighEliteMajor Those drives to the basket by Frank were brutal. It reminded me of Tyshawn in the national championship game.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    HEM… another one of your spectacular posts!

    I agree with everything you say. You are a guy I’d like my son to be coached by.

    We could have done a lot of things different. We could have done what I was also saying to do… screen off the boards and fakes… head/body/ball fakes. Even the halftime guys were screaming for Kansas to use fakes and rebound.

    We could have done all of that and only lost by 20.

    Yes… Kentucky can be beat. But this is one time I will quote Caipari… “they determine their own outcome.” When Kentucky shows up with enthusiasm, they are going to crush everyone. This is like a remake of Houston’s Phi Slama Jama but times 2. They have 2 teams.

    I believe we are on the cusp of seeing college basketball turned into a circus freak show. Kentucky’s talent and height is to the extreme of being a “freak show.”

    All of the great coaching and game strategy isn’t going to produce a win on Kentucky. It might bring the game closer, and some hope that Kentucky’s players are focused on the cheerleaders… but it isn’t going to produce a win. This is one time I can say that Kansas does NOT control their destiny. Anyone saying otherwise is delusional. I’ve been totally delusional in thinking we could play the right game and beat them. No friggin’ way.

    If you are a guy who focuses hard on National Championships, then I wouldn’t focus too hard on this year or from here on out. Better take the smaller victories and just enjoy those. How about another B12 title?

    Yes, this Kansas team will improve. But don’t you think Kentucky will improve, too? And who will improve more? Which team has the most upside? Seriously?

    That game wasn’t basketball. That game was just a form of humiliation. I’m not going to shell out our guys for not doing better because it still wouldn’t have produced a win. They are college kids fighting to improve and there was no way they were going to make it over that hill last night. I was in denial about all of this until I witnessed this mugging.

    Kentucky is in line for the title… and the title for years to come. They’ve already got a gigantic leap on next year. And do you think all 9 of those AAs are going to declare for the draft this spring? Guess again.

    How hard is it going to be for Calipari to recruit in the future? His job gets easier all the time. His sales pitch of “play with AAs every day at practice and you’ll develop for the NBA” seems to work. And if that isn’t bad enough… his sales pitch moving forward will be “do you really want to play someplace else… do you want to be humiliated when you play us!” Realize the impact it has every time Kentucky drubs a blue blood school!

    I’m not going to get into whether or not Calipari is playing legal ball. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say he is just completely skilled at recruiting. But recruiting to this level creates an ugly game. It creates a game that I don’t really care if my son plays. It’s a game of ugliness based just on the ability to collect height and talent and shove it on one team. That is the formula moving forward. None of it is real coaching… it is babysitting… and it is acting like a player’s agent. That is the future of coaching college ball because Calipari is proving his system works. And his system, moving forward, is going to humiliate all the blue bloods.

    Calipari’s system is being mimicked at Kansas. Do you really think we thought of the idea to build luxury suites for our players to live in?

    That game was nauseating to me. Not just because I’m a Jayhawk fan. I would have had equal vomitus from watching Kentucky do the same thing to Duke or another blue blood. What nauseates me is the ability for one team to collect 9 AAs and then go out and commit rape on everyone else that works hard and has dreams. That game was beyond humiliating. It was the kind of game that can strip players and coaches of identity. The discrepancy made us look like HS ball.

    I won’t be a fan of Kansas basketball if we become like this. I fret to think of a Jayhawk team with 9 AAs. It just isn’t right to stack the deck like that… where it hardly matters what you do, as long as you don’t fight amongst yourselves… you will win! What do I teach my son out of all this… to grow a wingspan to match a Cessna or forget basketball? That is pretty much it and why I hope to direct him towards baseball. I’m not blaming Kentucky for this aspect… it is just the direction basketball is headed.

    But what about the coaching? Calipari isn’t really a coach. He’s a babysitter and an agent. He brings in kids that have been coached up and they just need a choreographer. But I will hand some credit out somewhere… the twins made huge improvements from last year! I don’t know if that came from Cal or the fact that these guys are just freaks of nature anyways and were bound to leap forward. Well… they leaped forward!

  • @HighEliteMajor First time poster from the Nation’s Capital. Enjoy the analysis. It is clear this team has no identity right now - and not clear where or who it will come from. On paper, our strength (as contrasted with recent years) would appear to be speed and athleticism - but through two practice games and two real ones, we certainly aren’t playing to those strengths - which would suggest a lot of ball pressure, cutting off passing lanes, and, and as HEM has noted, driving and dishing. As to Mason, he has the speed and basic ball skills to blow by the Harrisons or Ulis, but then no clue how to drive into the big body and dish to a cutter (problem was the neither Ellis nor Traylor were in a position to receive any pass…) or kick out for a three. As to Ellis, wow. A complete disappearing act offensively and simply horrible defensively. He cannot block out to save his life. Where is the improved and stronger player we heard about over the summer? Frankly, Selden wasn’t much better - esp. since he would the one to seem to have a match-up advantage over a Harrison or Pothyress. Although he hasn’t yet demonstrated that he can consistently hit his shot (also true in Europe), the best player on this team at this point is Svi - his passes are quick and sharp, he cuts, and he defends reasonably well. Yes, it’s early, but there are several eminently losable games on the early slate, and unless HCBS is willing to adapt to clearly changed circumstances (lack or low post scoring and rim protection), this could continue to be ugly - at least by Jayhawk standards…

  • @drgnslayr Great post. It’s sad, but it’s true. And it’s certainly how I’m feeling right now.

  • I know we closed the rebounding gap, but how many times off of a missed FT did we NOT get the rebound?

    Ellis was pushed under the rim one time, and another his feet looked like they were in cement as the KY player went around him.

    Our guards when they did dish decided to dish to a post player that couldn’t do anything with the ball but get it swatted like a fly.

    The guards are afraid to shoot and miss from three to be benched, Svi made a few and missed then he was on the bench. Can’t play catch up very well if you won’t shoot threes, or if you are scared to shoot them you can’t make them.

    The post players were worried about getting their sh!t blocked, while our guards are afraid to get their a$$ benched.

    The good, Traylor and Alexander never quit playing, high motor the whole game. Both diving on the floor and scrapping. Very happy to see that. Now they need to carry that over to the rest of the team.

    As a whole it was crappy game for KU, am I worried about this season? No. That Kentucky team this early in the season beats Duke, Michigan St, Wisconsin and Arizona too. Is there a team in the Big12 that will play them closer? Maybe, but it won’t be apples to apples, let’s face it, Kentucky doesn’t care about any other team in the Big12 but Kansas, unless it’s in the big Dance.

    Ku won’t see this much talent all season, not in a starting five let alone 10. OU and Texas and ISU have some solid players, but they don’t have 5 like last night. This KU team has a lot of talent on it, more than any other Big12 team, it has the best coach in the Big12.

    Take last night for what it was, an early season whooping’ in the grand scheme of it all it won’t matter come March.

  • @JRyman Svi seems to have the green light.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    I read your entire post several times and you make several excellent point; however, I have a disagreement on a couple of them.

    On items 2-5 you appear to indicate that Coach Self had a plan and then he didn’t, particularly when you quote him about the “game plan crap.” I believe you are misrepresenting what he was trying to say. Coach Self does have system and a game plan that consists of doing what they do in practice. The comment in question was made in reference to reporters asking him repeatedly before the game if he was going to change his plan, and he always indicated that KU has a plan and will stick to it and will not change for just one team. In other words, you do what you have done before, and that by and large, has worked rather well before. The drive to pass was exactly part of the plan that you indicate he did not have, and while the concept was good, in practice the guards kept driving and trying to shoot over the trees and obviously it did not end up well; 4 assist total is an indication of a team not passing the ball. As far as throwing the ball inside, the ideas was for our forward to get inside position behind the defender using quickness (many posters in this forum suggested the same thing), receive the pass and score, obviously the UK players did well holding the inside position and when they were beaten, another one would come from behind and block the shot The height inside proved to be too much; KU actually had more offensive rebounds that UK but could not capitalize on second chances, even missing on a few follow up, point blank dunks or getting the ball rejected; I can’t think of a game where the opposing team had 11 blocks, can you?

    This is just my opinion, and it is just that, a subjective personal opinion. It does not mean your points are not valid, it simply says we see them differently, that’s all.

    On point 9, I find it ironic that Cauley-Stein’s mom would make such comment; maybe she should have talked to her son. Anyone that lives in Olathe and knows kids that attend High School (he went to Olathe North West) knows that he made it very clear that KU was not in the list of schools he wanted to attend, and it would have truly been a waste of time to recruit a player, even a highly ranked local one, that had no interest in your program. I believe Coach Self was very diplomatic answering the question. By the way, I know several people whose kids, knew him in HS and all though he was an arrogant a-hole, not that it changes his skill set, but makes him a lot less likable and a potential future disruption in the locker room. Again, this is based on conversations with many kids that knew him in High School.

    Having said that, nothing takes away the sting of witnessing perhaps the worse loss in as far as I can remember.

  • @drgnslayr - Thanks for the nice comments … no don’t get down on things. This is college hoops. It’s a team game, and it’s chemistry. This thing isn’t over. Cal is an excellent coach, something he doesn’t get credit for. It’s a long season.

    @jayhawkfantoo: I’m sorry, I’m not understanding. I was not suggesting that Self doesn’t game plan. I was just suggesting that his statement that there’s not a “game plan” is silly. Maybe we’re saying the same thing.

    You said “The drive to pass was exactly part of the plan that you indicate he did not have, and while the concept was good, in practice the guards kept driving and trying to shoot over the trees and obviously it did not end up well; 4 assist total is an indication of a team not passing the ball.”

    I AM saying that his strategy/game plan WAS to drive and pass. I quoted him saying that.

    Now, you say it didn’t work good in practice. It didn’t work good in practice because the guards shot, instead of passed.

    You say, “The comment in question was made in reference to reporters asking him repeatedly before the game if he was going to change his plan, and he always indicated that KU has a plan and will stick to it and will not change for just one team. In other words, you do what you have done before, and that by and large, has worked rather well before.”

    Again, really, it’s nuance. I agree that you stick with your system, but you have to game plan within the system. Self wanted more driving and dishing. Perfect. It’s a good plan to combat a team like Kentucky. I said that last week. But he (apparently) had no real three point strategy. I think that’s coaching malpractice, to be honest, given what was in front of him (again, if true).

    @joeloveshawks I think the three point shooting talk, like playing a perimeter guy at the 4, was all talk. System, system, system. No major deviations. I will say though, I didn’t see quick hooks after three pointers. He seems to have give Svi the green light as @Crimsonorblue22 said.

    @KUSteve – looked like TT for the first three and a half years he was here, and the NC title game.

    @DCHawker - Welcome to site. Appreciate your input.

  • @HighEliteMajor said:

    Willie Cauley-Stein: Cauley-Stein’s mom said she didn’t understand why Self didn’t recruit him harder. Self said, well, if we got Cauly-Stein we would not have gotten Embiid. Interesting. Because we have neither one right now.

    Well a couple things. First of all, no one saw Embiid’s meteoric rise making him a OAD. When we signed him we were thinking project, not OAD lottery pick.

    The other thing I’d ask Cauly-Stein’s mom was “did you see your son play in high school?” I did a few times, and he was garbage. Passive. Inactive. Lazy. That could have had something to do with it.

  • @HighEliteMajor I almost choked when I saw that Oubre was starting after our discussion of the pressure to play a McDonald’s AA. I assumed that he had performed better in recent practices…you normally don’t go from 4 min. to starting for any other reason. That said, I thought the only time that we looked halfway decent on offense was when he and Svi showed that with their length and athletic ability they could make something happen by getting in the lane. I wanted to see more of both Oubre and Alexander based on the way they played. I love Perry, but I am afraid he is what he is…we won’t get much out of him against tall, athletic big men. Period. We did not play well. But we will get better. I think we have the potential to be in the next group behind Kentucky. Until someone proves otherwise…I think it’s UK and then everyone else.

  • For those interested, Jesse Newell did a great piece today on three point shooting and the quotes I referenced above.

    @icthawkfan316 I saw Cauley-Stein in H.S. too, and he was a lazy underachiever. I think you and I have posted about that before. A 6’7" kid I used to coach (in baseball), D-III basketball guy, basically controlled him. But here’s what I’ll say – Self’s job, like Calipari’s is to identify talent and develop it. I didn’t want Cauley-Stein at the time. So this is a hindsight criticism. On Embiid, he wasn’t that much of a secret. Pitino said prior to his commitment that we might have the top two picks.

    My observation was really that Self was giving a lame explanation on Cauley-Stein, at least in part relating that miss to the positive of getting Embiid; which does us zero good right now. I’d rather have had Cauley-Stein than Embiid, in hindsight of course.

    @Hawk8086 - It is odd that we had that exact discussion. I never once imagined that Oubre would start. I’m still shaking my head at that one. Think Oubre starts Monday? Actually, I hope so.

  • @HighEliteMajor I absolutely hope so. Either he or Svi will, I think.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Did you see my post on Cauley-Stein? The dude did not want to play at KU, most people familiar with the local HS sports scene in Olathe knew that.

  • @Hawk8086

    I meant to address this item in my reply to @HighEliteMajor . The truth is that none of us know why Oubre played only 4 minutes in the UCSB game. I understand his dad told Coach Self not go easy on him, and it is possible that he missed classes or slacked off in practice and he had to ride the pine. It is big assumption to imply that he started the UK game just because of the pressure of playing McDonald AA; Coach Self is not known for bending to pressure and I seriously doubt this was the case. Just my opinion.

  • @JayHawkFanToo I agree. I can’t believe the “politics” would influence Self that much in the short run. I think there would be pressure in the long run…moot point of course if Oubre plays to expectations…which I believe he will do.

  • @HighEliteMajor Well, yeah it was a lame explanation, but he also can’t come out and say “he was a bum in high school”. Also, I remember there being something to what JayHawkFanToo said, and that there wasn’t any interest from him. He was part of Will Shields’ inner circle of “advisors” (having played with his son Shevon in high school). I think he was steered clear of us for whatever reason.

  • @icthawkfan316

    I believe you have it right. As I indicated in my post, Coach Self gave a “diplomatic” answer. It could have started with KU not showing enough interest and that got him upset with KU and made statements about not wanting to play at KU…which in turn turned KU off.

  • @HighEliteMajor I think Graham is a starter Mon & Svi is clearly the better 2 at this time. Perry is just a friggin ghost at times-no explanation plain & simple. I’d sit him & start Cliff. I would also move Lucas into the 5 & let him get valuable exp each game forward. He will be a much needed component in conf if we even hope to compete for a title. Also #10-Self could end up shooting off a foot if BG does the exit stage right & KO turns out to be a OAD. But then did you see Evan diving on the floor for the burns & balls? Then think about it, maybe that’s what Bill wants to get more OAD’s? This OAD krap is a downright vicious animal & I personally want it out of CBB. Make it like MLB. Sign if you want & go but if you want to go to school that’s the road you must take. Worked out historically well this year for the Royals Brandon Finnegan. Bottom line is no matter what- good things take time. Rarely is there such a phenomenon as a legitimate over night star. Over night millionaire yeah, but in most cases just a shooting (burned out & broke) star. JMO

  • Cauley-Stein was just one more recuit at the time. He was a recruit swimming in a sea of other players.

    This wouldn’t be a point if we landed Myles Turner. We did land Embiid.

    We need a crystal ball to know who we should land. Or do the shotgun approach of Calipari and go hard after everyone, and don’t be caught without size.

    I am amazed… that right here at Big Man U… we are weak in the post concerning depth.

    Maybe it is time for Self to revamp his strategy. Switch to a motion offense. Stress development at the guard position. And run a hybrid offense somewhere between UCONN and Kentucky.

    What worried me about this Kentucky game before the tip-off was Bill saying we won’t change who we are for anyone. I’m not sure that is always the best strategy. We continually ran the ball right into the teeth of Kentucky’s big men and they continually rejected our shots. I’d like to see us run strategy and heavy tweaks for who we are about to play. All these guys need to learn fakes on their shots, regardless if we play Kentucky or Emporia State. There is so much basic basketball that we don’t teach our guys. Even the broadcast guys were screaming it out at halftime.

    I believe we are too rigid. And that makes us outrageously predictable. We must be one of the easiest teams to scout.

    When was the last time we pulled a rabbit out of our hat?


    Perry is extremely talented, but his personality is a beta-dog, not an alpha-dog. I’ve been saying for two years now I’d like to own him for a summer and find some old street ball and make him spend a summer earning his cred on the street. That’s the only way I see how to break him out of his designer personality. The best thing that could happen is he gets his arse kicked all the way off the court! He’d go home and cry, lick his wounds, look himself in the mirror and say to himself, “I’m not taking this sh_t any longer!” Funny how a good butt kicking can turn someone’s life around to a hard focus and plenty of fortitude! Unfortunately, if Perry doesn’t have something like this happen to him, his pro days will be spent in Europe, when he really does have the skill set to the play in the league.

    What was Perry doing taking the ball to the hole and not slamming it down?

  • @drgnslayr didn’t he just have that happen last night?

  • @HighEliteMajor said:

    Willie Cauley-Stein: Cauley-Stein’s mom said she didn’t understand why Self didn’t recruit him harder. Self said, well, if we got Cauly-Stein we would not have gotten Embiid. Interesting. Because we have neither one right now.

    My concern about this comment (if it’s true) is that it is very limited thinking – like, you can only have one top-notch player at a position at a time.

    Calipari certainly didn’t stop recruiting after he got Cauly-Stein! He didn’t stop after he got any position filled with a five-star Micky-D AA. And now he has two full starting 5 teams that can compete with anyone.

    That said, he’s playing with fire. Chemistry is delicate, and crucial. They looked awesome last night, and people say they can be even better. But they can also be worse. Their strength can be their weakness… It will be fascinating to watch.

  • @globaljaybird - If Graham starts, doesn’t that prove the point on Oubre? That it was a sell-out start? Heck, nobody asked Self about it post-game that I heard. Unbelievable – both that it happened, and that no one asked him.

    @bskeet - Just a terrific point on recruiting. Just because you get one, doesn’t mean you can’t necessarily get another. It’s all how it’s sold.

    @drgnslayr - The layup that Ellis got blocked on, we could see coming before it happened. You’re exactly right. You have to position yourself to dunk the ball. When that happens, you’ll get the foul call more times than not. Flipping up a soft layup is easy pickins. If you have to lay it in, have some court awareness. Take it to the other side of the rim. I know it’s not that easy, but we see guys do it all the time.

    But Ellis is Ellis. He is a finesse player. It’s who he is. His game won’t change. He’ll likely have an excellent season, at least when he doesn’t have to face a size or skill disadvantage. That may be 90% if the season.

  • When you know you are going to be contested on the dunk, you’ve got to bring your most brutal dunk to the hole. Your only thought is preventing a defender from blocking you before you get the ball high enough to slam down. And if you have your body leveraged, if a defender gets in the way of your slam down there is a good chance he’ll break his wrist/fingers/hand, trapping it between the ball and the rim. I’ve seen it happen 3 or 4 times now. Then use the two-hand throw down. Your leverage should have the entire weight of your body behind it because you are in the air coming down, so your arms are flexed with the strength to hold up to your own weight, similar to a bench press of your own weight. And your grip on that ball also has to be with a similar force.

    The mindset is simple. When you are capable of slamming easily (like being 6’8" ) then when you go up your mind is set to the FACT that you OWN that rim! Any wimpy attitude will show and you’ll look the fool when you get smoked.

    Cliff is the only one on this team that gets that. Before him, it was TRob.

    I’d give Perry an exercise… send him into the vid room and show him Chocolate Thunder for hours. Tell him to visualize it in his consciousness. Then spend hours learning what a throw down is.

    Play at the rim is not for the meek!

  • Okay everyone, we can all calm down.

    It’s been almost a full 36 hours since the debacle. We know one thing after that game - Kentucky is very good. We really didn’t learn much about KU. Let’s set aside a few myths however.

    Myth #1 - Conner Frankamp would have helped in this game.

    No. No. No. Just no. This is precisely the kind of game that Conner would have been eaten alive in. He succeeded against Stanford because Stanford didn’t have a single capable guard on the roster. Kentucky has 4. The twins would have bullied him with their size and Ulis would have been blowing by him all night. Frankamp would have been a liability.

    Myth #2 - Kansas is not good

    False. KU does not match up particularly well with Kentucky. Kentucky is extremely talented. When a team that matches up poorly with another team and that team is very talented, the potential for the game to get one-sided exists. That’s what happened here. KU doesn’t match up well with extreme size, because two of their (likely) 5 or 6 best players (Mason and Ellis) don’t handle extreme size well. We have known since Ellis was recruited he struggled with extreme size. Him not playing well in this match up does not change how he will likely play the rest of the year. If we play UK again, he probably won’t play much better than he did on Tuesday. But the rest of the season, he should be fine. Same with Mason. He reverts to his worst habits when faced with extreme size. He will be better the rest of the season, but UK can tempt him into playing as his worst self. KU will be fine - but a rematch with UK would be problematic for the same reasons this game was problematic.

    Myth #3 - Oubre’s playing time was related to the OAD pipeline.

    Kelly Oubre is a very good basketball player. Talentwise, Oubre is one of the best four players on this team, likely behind only Selden, Alexander and maybe Ellis. Oubre will play this season. He will produce. He was our best chance to stand toe to toe with Kentucky because he has the athleticism and basketball talent to stand toe to toe with them.

    Myth #4 - Kentucky will go undefeated.

    UK is tremendously talented. If this were the NBA, with the talent disparity UK will likely enjoy in every game, I would be comfortable saying they would probably go undefeated. However, these are college kids. They won’t play their B+ game every night. UK can win every night if they play their B or B+ game. However, every college team plays a couple C or C- games every year. They just do. College kids just can’t produce at that level every night. UK played a C- game against Buffalo in the first half, but they hit the gas and played a B+ second half for a B game overall. Against a better team though, that C- first half buries them and they get beat.

    Someone will play an A+ game against Kentucky when they play a B- and they will get beat. It happens every year. Someone will hit 13 or 14 threes against them, and zone them into a 3-11 shooting night from the arc with some untimely turnovers. It will happen. But come March, they will be a monster to deal with. The race is on for the other #1 seeds because you do not want to be in UK’s bracket.

  • @justanotherfan On your Myth #3, I offer the following evidence as to why could have been OAD related pressure:

    1. Self said that certain players were having trouble with where to be on the floor, and what to do. He said it was hard to run things if people weren’t in the right spots; i.e., learning the system.

    2. Svi was on the floor, playing; so was Graham. That excludes those two. Easy inference was Oubre and Alexander.

    3. The loose discussion around Oubre’s commitment that he was told that he would come in and take Wiggins’ spot – loose meaning not a guarantee, per se.

    4. Oubre played only 4 minutes vs. UCSB. More importantly, he played zero minutes in the second half with the game on the line, and indicator of who Self really trusted.

    5. There were only two real practice days between UCSB and UK to change the dynamic. That is, what can change so dramatically – zero minutes in crunch time to starting – in a couple of days?

    6. This was a national game, recruits all over the nation watching. Zimmerman, Brown, you name it. How would it look to those recruits if their OAD brethren barely plays? could that happen to them?

    7. The pregame video montage had significant shots of Oubre with the other starters. Clearly filmed with Oubre starting in mind. Self didn’t announce the starters until very close to game time. ESPN had to know way ahead of time about Oubre. to edit and prepare the montage.

    8. It would have been embarrassing to Oubre to be so prominently focused upon in the montage, and not start or play much.

    9. Self only ended up playing this supposed “merit” starter 13 minutes the entire game. If he merited starting, then why not play most of the second half.

    10. When Oubre got his second foul, Self did not take him out. When has Self ever not removed a key player with two fouls like that? It shows me Self didn’t care if he got his third.

    11. No reporter quizzed Self on the reasons for starting Oubre. Those guys know something and don’t want to piss off Self. None of them ever ask him tough or challenging questions on follow-up. They just accept answers and move on.

    I admit my evidence is not iron clad. Heck, Alexander didn’t start. I’m not even sure I believe it. I actually hope, if Oubre is the real deal, and Self feels that way, that Self should just start him then.

    But this is just to suggest that maybe, just maybe, it’s not purely a myth.

  • Here are my belated positive takeaways from the game:

    • Frank Mason’s handles were the best I’ve seen in the Self era, with the exception of Sherron. Not once was his dribbling threatened by KY. Granted, that wasn’t really their strategy, but I was really impressed with his handles, poor decision-making aside. I believe he can play a critical role for us bringing the ball up the court, and already looks better in that regard than Naadir, EJ, and Tyshawn ever did.
    • Oubre looked feeble to start the game, but the light switch turned on for a short stretch at the end of the first half. His length, athleticism and left-handedness has the potential to provide rebounds, and buckets against tall, athletic opponents. I wish he had had more playing time prior to this game.
    • Svi made a 3, later drew a foul, had a steal (played excellent D in transition and in half-court) and seemed to get it and execute the strategy of drive and kick that Self indicated. I was really impressed with his decision making, and like Oubre, his length is going to be very important to us come tournament time. Green light!
    • Alexander couldn’t get into the flow at all with the foul trouble, and we should have expected this. He hasn’t been playing that long, and it should have been apparent to us that there would be growing pains if you look at his Chicago battles with Jahlil “The blatant hook” Okafor in HS.
    • JamTray missed an easy put back slam. Nerves. He also blew some box outs on free throws later. Again, nerves and lack of focus. He has the athleticism to contribute. He needs confidence and focus.
    • Ellis looked aggressive to start the game and I wish he could sustain it. As others have said, he needs to throw that sh** down. He was amped and above the rim to start the game. Maybe someone needs to punch him a couple times on the bench when he gets a breather to keep him there.
    • Graham was pretty much a non-factor, but I’m sold on the kid, and he didn’t match up with KY. If Frank is the handles, Svi is the gun, Selden is the muscle and lockdown wing, Graham is a tweener; what I saw in the previous two games was a guard with excellent decision making that when comfortable can destroy a team. Against KY he was a skinny freshman without a role. This kid is a champion. Give him time.
    • About the lack of a footer in our bigs, as people have said repeatedly. We need a full out press on next years bigs to get them to Kansas. Remember Embiid’s baseline baby hook? Tell me they would have swatted that. Tell me they would have been able to own us on the glass with him here.
    • By the end of the game, the non-sticky ball movement from our walk-ons was a breath of fresh air. We need to move the rock like that! How bout those kids getting 5 minutes of PT against possibly the greatest ensemble of talent on a collegiate team ever? Pretty cool experience for them!

  • Something is broken in the NCAA when KU can lose by 32 and remain at #5 in the polls. All morning long on Fox Sports there was a debate on whether UK could beat the 76er’s.

  • I think we are going to be pretty dang good this year. We just have to settle down. We aren’t used to getting our doors blown off, but we have to remember the facts:

    1. Kentucky is damn good! Never been a D1 team with more talent on it.

    2. Kentucky had more than 2 extra weeks practice. Heck… we haven’t had time to do much of anything yet.

    3. We are still a very young team. Very young teams struggle until the newbies start catching on.

    4. The issue we have with size is a bit over-rated. We are used to being taller than our opponents so we freak out now if we aren’t. And it showed up big against Kentucky because they are the tallest team ever to assemble in NCAA history. We still would have been smoked if Embiid was with us. He would have been swarmed under the basket for rebounds, just like Bam-Bam and Perry was. The key factor in this game was that we didn’t block off the boards. How many times did UK score off their own missed FTs? That has little to do with height and everything to do with not blocking out.

    Rebounding has always been a problem at Kansas. Yes… you heard me right! Even though we typically had (in the past) huge rebounding edges over our opponents. We also had SIZE, and we used our size to mask that we never have been really good at blocking out for rebounds. Maybe this year our coaches will finally realize they have to work hard on teaching rebounding fundamentals. Perhaps they became lazy (just like our players did) in teaching blocking out because we typically had a huge rebounding edge. We will not have that edge this year if we don’t block out! We either learn to do it or we give up several possessions each game and lose some games because we don’t have enough possessions.

    The focus on this team is wrong. We are busy now trying to teach these young guys the Self play book on offense, and some of stuff on M2M defense when the immediate focus has to be on fundamentals. I think Svi might be our only player that knows what a shot fake is. None of our guys know how to block out. None.

    This is stuff they should have learned in HS… actually… they should have learned it in JHS.

    Basics come first. Then… teach offensive and defensive schemes.

    Am I the only one that listened to the half time report when Greenberg and others were SCREAMING at KU to use shot fakes?!

    I’ve been screaming that stuff in here for years! Shot fakes are an art and a skill. Those have to be worked on. You are selling something you aren’t going to do. Blocking the boards out also takes some skill because you also need to have an idea where the rebound is going.

  • @HighEliteMajor Well said.

  • @drgnslayr “Maybe it is time for Self to revamp his strategy. Switch to a motion offense.”

    Here’s the rub - he’s won big doing it his way. 82% is really an amazing record. i don’t think, even by losing the way we did, it will dissuade him into doing something different. He is stubborn as a mule, which is part of the reason he is so successful. It’s also the reason we lose games at times. That “simple” Okie is extremely complicated, imo.

    My conspiracy theory of the week: What if Dooley was the guy behind the curtain? What if the change from Dooley to Howard was a big step down? What if Howard is good at one thing, and one thing only? ( Recruiting) “Enquiring” minds want to know!!!

  • I didn’t realize how serious the beatdown really was until the next morning.

    When the normally sadistic and abrasive K-State fans came up to me and put a hand on my shoulder and said they were sorry. And I think they actually meant it.

  • @KUSTEVE not so much of a conspiracy theory. Just a theory.

  • @wrwlumpy

    The new polls don’t come out until next Monday. Look for KU to drop 10 places.

  • @approxinfinity

    The answer to Frank Mason’s issue is easy. He was volume shooter and scorer in HS and he still has that mentality. At the UK game he kept driving to the basket, drawing a crowd, and instead to passing the ball to the open players, as the game plan called for, he tried scoring over the tall UK trees and we all know how that turned out.

    If I were Coach Self. I would sit him in front of a screen and have him watch footage of RussRob. He also came to KU as a scorer and when he finally embraced his role as a PG/ball distributor/game manager, he became one of the better PGs in recent memory and a crucial component of the '08 Championship team; without his steady play KU likely does not win it all in '08.

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